Pre-race show salutes military

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CONCORD – During the pre-race show for the 52nd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 29, Charlotte Motor Speedway officials will salute the U.S. armed forces with a military demonstration, special awards, military band performances and a presentation with Medal of Honor recipients.
The pre-race festivities will also include an appearance by Larry the Cable Guy, voice of Mater in Disney Pixar’s “CARS 2” and the singing of the national anthem by Capitol Records recording artist Darius Rucker.
Gates will open at 12:30 p.m. An approximate timeline of pre-race events follows:
3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
The U.S. Army Drill Team will perform along with the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus, followed by a simulated military invasion by U.S. Army Special Forces troops from Fort Bragg. The soldiers will rappel into the infield from Little Bird helicopters and will fire a Howitzer gun to eliminate a suspicious target. Once the mission is complete, 600 troops from Fort Bragg will march toward the start/finish line from Turns 1 and 4 to secure the area.
4:30 p.m.-5:10 p.m.
Country music singer Darryl Worley will perform a 30-minute concert that will include his single “How You Forgotten?” about the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Medal of Honor recipients Hector Cafferata (Korea), Gary Littrell (Vietnam) and Walter Marm (Vietnam) will be recognized on stage, after which Lee Greenwood will perform his patriotic anthem, “God Bless the U.S.A.”
5:10 p.m.–5:20 p.m.
Defending NHRA Four-Wide Nationals champion and Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader Del Worsham will perform a ground-shaking burnout down pit road in his Team Al-Anabi Top Fuel dragster.
Dale Punch, Vietnam War veteran and former Post Commander of the American Legion, will be honored with the Stonewall Jackson Award. Presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway annually since 1992, the award recognizes standards of patriotism through personal support of the military and personal service to sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty.
5:20 p.m.-5:25 p.m.
A host of VIPs will grace the pre-race stage, including blue-collar comedian and the voice of Mater in the upcoming Disney Pixar summer comedy “CARS 2,” Larry the Cable Guy who will serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver. North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis will serve as host to Grand Marshal Beth Harwell, Tennessee Speaker of the House, and Honorary Starter Bobby Harrell, South Carolina Speaker.
One lucky fan will also drive away in a brand new Toyota Camry as the winner of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Text-to-Win contest. Four finalists will earn the opportunity to compete on the frontstretch to determine the fastest fan. The fan who posts the quickest time in the special competition to pack a Camry for race day with a cooler full of Coca-Cola, grill, charcoal and groceries; put on their Toyota Racing gear; jump in the driver’s seat and start the engine will win the keys to the car.
5:25 p.m.-5:45 p.m.
The 43 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 get the introduction of a lifetime when U.S. military members serving abroad present the competitors on the world’s largest HDTV. Following the one-of-a-kind driver introductions, a Wounded Warrior will ride around the track with each of the NASCAR drivers during his introduction.
5:45 p.m.-6:05 p.m.
The U.S. Army Black Daggers parachute team will perform a jump over the speedway, while the 82nd Airborne Chorus sings “The Armed Forces Medley.” Jim Daly, president of the non-profit group Focus on the Family, will give the invocation. Country music star and former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, Darius Rucker, will perform the national anthem.
Additionally, the Presentation of Colors will be performed by the U.S. All Army Color Guard and a bagpipe performance of “Amazing Grace” will be given by the Charlotte Fire Department Pipes and Drums. A 21-gun volley and Taps will be performed by soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg.
During the national anthem, more than 100 family members of Fort Bragg soldiers will unfurl an 11,250-square-foot American flag on the frontstretch grass. The final fly-over before the start of the race will include a B-2 Stealth Bomber flown by pilots from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
Tickets for all races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).
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